EPA publish Andersen EtO material compatibility study

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publish study entitled "Compatibility of Material and Electronic Equipment with Ethlyene Oxide Fumigation".


The primary objective of the work was to assess the impact of sporicidal fumigation with EtO on materials and electronic equipment. Specifically, the fumigation conditions of interest are those provided by the commercially used Andersen EOGas 333 system. A secondary objective was to test the efficacy of EtO against a Bacillus anthracis surrogate.

Three different categories of materials were tested as surrogates for sensitive materials and high-end equipment. Category 1 materials (household building materials) which were previously tested with chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, and methyl bromide, were not included in this study. Because of size limitations, EtO would not be considered as an option for decontamination of Category 1 materials.

- Category 2 materials included construction materials of low surface area but high functionality within a building. These construction materials included aluminum, copper, stainless steel, smoke detectors with and without carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, laser-printed paper, ink jet-colored paper, and color photographs.

- Category 3 materials and equipment included pieces of small personal electronic equipment: Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), cell phones, fax/phone/copier machines, compact discs (CDs), digital versatile discs (DVDs), Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash drives, and Secure Digital (SD) memory cards.

- Category 4 materials included desktop computers and monitors.

The effects of EtO on all tested materials was minimal, with no recorded visual impacts on any of the materials. All fumigated electronic components maintained the same functionality as the control equipment.

The study found that EtO was sporicidal with greater than 6 log reduction under all tested conditions. EPA have separately demonstrated the ability of EtO to sterilize materials contaminated with B anthracis in a paper entitled "Evaluation of Ethylene Oxide for the Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis (EPA/13/R-13/220)".

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